5 out of 5
Produced by: Richard D. James
Yes, sure, any new Aphex-related release is going to get people like me to buy it, possibly to weigh in on what’s genius and what’s lacking, and we’ll likely be both more supportive and more critical than a casual listener. So I can understand the doubt that might occur when a longtime fan proclaims a 1995 Peel Session set as perfection, but I’d encourage your casual-listening self to give it a spin and find out why, like, I’m right.
Coming with a couple of true only-heard-back-then rarities (excepting comparatively recent online releases), these Peel Session tracks are both incredibly cohesive and incredibly varied, from the more playful Slo Bird Whistle – which could pass for modern Aphex, with its lighter, airier, boppin’ vibe – to the beatified, twisted ambience of the original mix of Radiator, to an AFX, cold-hearted track – p-string – and then closing with the graceful, orchestral Donkey Rhubarb B-side of Pancake Lizard. These are not songs I would’ve first picked as going together – they each represent different sides of the artist – but they end up playing together perfectly, and make it that much easier to remember how and why RDJ made such an impact over the years.